Surprising Study Results: Students Are Bored During Exams

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by ScienceDaily.

Although boredom is currently a very intensively studied phenomenon, test boredom has so far been completely ignored in the research. For the first time and on an international basis, psychologists from the University of Vienna, the University of Konstanz, the University of Zurich, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, the LMU Munich, the City University of New York, the University of Essex and the Australian Catholic University (Sidney) have now been able to show that test boredom does actually occur and that it clearly deteriorates performance. The main causes were being both under-challenged and over-challenged during the exam. In addition, test boredom was significantly higher when the exam content had no personal relevance for the students. The main result of the study was that a high level of test boredom had a negative effect on exam results.

The academics proposed the so-called abundance hypothesis for the first time in their study, which they were able to confirm. On the one hand, the abundance hypothesis states that boredom especially deteriorates exam performance if students are over-challenged because all mental resources would have to be allocated to completing the tasks, i.e. those that are used for experiencing boredom but are no longer available for working on the tasks. On the other hand, in the case of boredom as a result of being under-challenged, resources are available in abundance for processing the tasks anyway.

In the study, a total of 1,820 German students in the 5th to 10th grades were examined. Questions about the extent of boredom, of being under-challenged and over-challenged, and the personal relevance of the tasks were directly included in the test between the different tasks.

The research results were published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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